FUNKSTOWN, Md.—Just before dusk Thursday, the normally quiet Baltimore Street morphed into a play land for little witches, superheroes, princesses and Star Wars characters.
About 200 local kids donned their various outfits and walked in the annual Funkstown Halloween Parade, a festive 30-year tradition that precedes the town’s Trick-Or-Treat Night this evening.
Shane Cushman and 4-year-old Derek Miles dressed as the dynamic duo of Batman and Robin. It was their first time participating in the parade, walking along with Cushman’s fiancé and Derek’s mother, Lisa Miles, and her 6-year-old daughter, Cassie Miles, in a fancy, blue Cinderella-esque princess dress.
“It’s really good for the kids and it kind of brings the community together,” said Cushman, who moved to Funkstown from Myersville, Md., in August. “We’re missing that a lot in today’s world; that sense of community.”
A Maryland State Police cruiser led the way through town, followed by engines from the Funkstown Vol. Fire Co., members of local Cub Scout Pack 23, representatives and K-9s from the Animal Health Clinic of Funkstown as well as the marching bands of E. Russell Hicks Middle and South Hagerstown High schools.
Although it’s a relatively short parade, lasting about 15 or 20 minutes, Town Councilman John Phillips said the event is all about the kids having fun for Halloween.
“It’s a good warm-up for the Mummer’s Parade and for the town,” Phillips said. “... A lot of people support it.”
After the parade, families flocked to nearby American Legion Post 211 for an after-party thrown by the ladies’ auxiliary.
Patt Long-Crowther, president of the Post 211 Auxiliary, said they’ve been hosting the party for more than 30 years. She estimated about 130 children plus their families attended the gathering, where they gave out candy and free chicken nuggets for the children, as well as prizes for costumes deemed the “cutest,” “scariest” and “most original.”
“We’re very proud of what we do, and this is about one of the only American Legion auxiliaries that does this,” Long-Crowther said. “As you can see, it’s a great success.”
Despite not advertising the event, it seems to grow every year by word of mouth, she said.
“All in all, I think we take care of a lot of our citizens,” Long-Crowther said, also wishing to thank all of her workers who help it go so smoothly each year.
Cushman said the event as a whole shows Funkstown’s small-town feel and atmosphere, one of the big reasons why he decided to move to the area with his family.
“You can’t get that in the big areas,” he said, before turning to Derek to ask if he had a good time.
Derek, a superhero fanatic who dressed as Superman last year, grinned widely and nodded.
“Yeah!” Derek said. “Be superheroed up!”